The Treasury, on behalf of the Crown, administers property of removed companies which vests in the Crown in accordance with the Companies Act 1955 or the Companies Act 1993. However, land which vests in the Crown in this manner potentially becomes "Crown Land" for the purposes of the Land Act 1948. Crown Land is administered by the Commissioner of Crown Lands.
If an applicant requests that the Crown transfer or otherwise deal with land which has vested we are required to refer that request to the Commissioner of Crown Lands for investigation. We will need to receive the Commissioner's advice before we can respond to the request. This process can be lengthy and we cannot give you a timeframe for when we may receive the Commissioner's advice.
As an alternative, applicants may wish to seek an order from the High Court vesting the property in them. The High Court has the power to vest property which has passed to the Crown in other parties. Before being able to make an application for a vesting order, you need to contact the Treasury and request that the Crown disclaim the property. Applications for the Crown to disclaim property must then be referred to the Commissioner of Crown Lands. If the Commissioner is satisfied the Crown has no interest in the property and that it can be disclaimed, the Secretary to the Treasury (or his or her delegate) may issue a notice of disclaimer, meaning the Crown is treated as never having been the owner of the property.
Once the Secretary to the Treasury (or his or her delegate) has disclaimed the property, you are able to apply to the High Court for a vesting order. If you were to make such an application the Treasury is able to supply you with a letter stating we have no objection to the order which you could present that letter to the Court in support of your application.
Should you wish us to refer this matter to the Commissioner of Crown Lands we will require the following information from you before doing so:
- A statutory declaration by a director of the removed company ("the Company") (or someone else associated with the Company) at the time the Company was removed which includes:
1.1 details of the circumstances surrounding the acquisition of the land;
1.2 details of the circumstances surrounding the removal of the Company without first dealing with the land; and
1.3 a declaration that the Company held the land in its own right and not on trust for any other body corporate or any other person.
If you are unable to locate anyone associated with the Company at the time it was removed we may accept a statutory declaration from someone else with knowledge of the matter. However, their statutory declaration will also need to include details of the steps taken to contact the former director(s) of the Company.
- An application form by your client requesting the Crown to deal with the matter pursuant to the relevant section of the Companies Act 1993 or Companies Act 1955, together with an indemnity from your client in favour of the Crown in respect of all or any liability that may be incurred by the Crown in respect of all actions taken in dealing with the land.
- A copy of the certificate of title for the land.
- A statement setting out the physical details of the land such as; the current purpose and nature of the land (for example, is it an access way, open space, buffer zone or shared development), a description of the land (for example flat, underlying or sheer), rating details (including the value, the annual rates, how much if any is in arrears), whether the land serves any other party (and if so who, where, for how long and whether there is a legal or informal arrangement between them).
- A statement which outlines whether the land is used by any other party, if so we may also require a statement in writing from those parties as to their position with regard to the future ownership of the land; and
- Extracts from the Companies Office for the Company showing when it was registered and when it was removed.
- Your undertaking to pay our fee ($400 inclusive of GST) and to reimburse any advertising costs and other disbursements we need to incur in connection with this matter. We are entitled to recover our costs pursuant to section 75(2) of the Public Finance Act 1989.
We may also require further information if we feel that it is necessary to determine whether the land has vested in the Crown and it is appropriate for the Crown to deal with the land. The Commissioner of Crown Lands may also require further information than that listed above.
Template forms of the statutory declaration and the application and indemnity are available below.
Statutory Declaration - Land (Word, 28KB)
Application and Indemnity - Land (Word, 28KB)